My dearest little Walker-Baits -- I had to flip over from covering the Oscars just so I could see this weeks The Walking Dead -- and I'm so glad I did! Holy shit!!! I think this was the best episode we've seen since 2.1's "A Very Daryl Episode" ("Chupacabra" for all you non-Daryl peeps) -- there were so many things RIGHT about this episode that the stuff I thought could've used work was really just me picking at things.
As we saw last week, Rick and Hershel (with no help from a cowardly Glenn) got themselves out of town after running afoul with both Walker's and another group of survivors. When the others opened fire on our group and a shootout ensued, one of the others -- Randall -- was injured in the process and left for dead by his crew. Rick took pity on him and brought him with them -- bound and blindfolded -- much to the anger of the rest of our group back at the farm. Lori is concerned with how badly Shane's gone into Crazytown territory, and in a weird "Lady MacBethian" twist seemed to be alluding to Rick that she wanted him taken out. Rick and Shane's animosity for one another is set to reach a boiling point.
Set a week after the events in the last episode, Randall's now recovered enough to be released back into the wild. Shane and Rick set out to find a place to drop him off and while Randall stays tied up and blindfolded in the trunk, Rick stops the car so he and Shane can have a moment to talk. One thing I noticed that I've sorely missed -- the return of the long shot! Seeing Rick's car pull up to those symbolic and literal crossroads was so unexpected that I'll withhold my derision at such an obvious use of metaphor.
Rick tries to reason with Shane, explaining that Lori is HIS wife, and that no matter what, Carl and the unborn baby are his children, and Shane needs to knock all this "I'm in love with Lori" bullshit off if he wants to stay with the group. Rick reveals that he knows what happened to Otis, and that he probably would've done the same -- but Shane has to back off his wife. Rick decides he wants to find a "safe" place to drop Randall off -- he doesn't want to just leave him in the middle of nowhere. They come across a power-plant/school/I don't really know what the place was because it had security guards and cop cars all around it but also had school buses so forgive me -- suffice to say -- they found a fenced in building -- and Rick thinks this is the place to leave Randall.
And that's when everything just goes to shit, and it's AWESOME. Randall -- once he's out -- reveals that he went to school with Maggie, which means he knows they're held up at Hershel Farm and there's a chance he'd tell his group if he ever finds them again. Randall swears he wouldn't because those assholes left him for dead -- but Rick and Shane don't believe him. Rick wants to take Randall back and discuss this with the others, Shane wants to just kill him now and be done with it. They leave Randall tied up on the ground with a knife near him and the two of them start going at it.
It's the fight we've all been waiting to see -- but it gets interrupted when they realize there's a small nest of Walker's that's been living inside the building they've been fighting in front of. The Walker's start crawling out of a broken window towards the men -- and chaos ensues. Rick and Randall manage to break free -- but poor Shane gets stuck inside of a school bus! Panic starts to set in when he looks out the window and sees Rick hightailing it out of there with Randall -- just when Shane thinks his friend's abandoned him -- Rick comes in guns blazing, hanging out of the passenger window with Randall strapped to the driver's seat -- Shane dives into the backseat of the car like a cat -- and the three of them manage to get out safely. I think my hands were permanently clutched around my pearls for this entire episode -- let's just go with the idea of me wearing pearls.
Not to be forgotten -- the women back at the farm also had a stellar episode -- and managed to raise some interesting gender issues. Beth is out of her catatonic state, and starts expressing a desire to commit suicide. Lori and Maggie are adamant she can't do this, and start trying to watch her around the clock. Andrea tries to explain to Lori that this isn't their decision to make. Beth is an adult -- if she wants to die, she should be allowed to make that choice. Of course Lori tries to argue with her, and that's when Andrea delivers the most awesome verbal smackdown in TWD history -- telling Lori that she's tired of hearing how bad she has it when she has a husband, son, a baby on the way AND a boyfriend.
If Lori's eyes had hands they'd have bitch slapped Andrea across the face a few times for that -- Lori's defense is to then throw Andrea's refusal to do "women's work" in her face -- which, to me made no sense and was totally sexist. Do the women have a duty to be the "stability" of the house as Lori believes? Cleaning and cooking and raising babies? Why? Because I'm with Andrea on this one -- as a woman who has ZERO desire to have children, raise anyone else's children, or do any of the typical "women's work" chores that Lori believes Andrea needs to pitch in with - I would be right on the top of that RV with Andrea, learning how to shoot and fight and hunt. How are Andrea's contributions to the group as a defender any less important than Lori's role as a caregiver?
This week was a shining example of how good this show can be -- amazing action coupled with outstanding dialogue. It illustrated why I love this show so much, and why I occasionally treat it like the star pupil of my TV-classroom -- I'm hard on TWD, but only because I know just how fantastic it can be -- here's hoping the last three episodes of this season (gasp!) can hold up to the standard this week's set.
Follow Vanessa Berben on Twitter: www.twitter.com/2FingersBerben